Thursday, October 2, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Sea Snakes in Australian Waters (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae) — A Review with an Updated Identification Key

some Australian Sea snakes 

Sea snakes (Elapidae, subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae) reach high species richness in the South China Sea and in the Australian region; however, most countries in the two regions still lack up-to-date checklists and identification tools for these snakes. We present an updated reviewed checklist and a new complete identification key to sea snakes in Australian waters. The identification key includes 29 species documented and 4 possibly occurring taxa and is based mostly on easy-to-use external characters. We find no evidence for breeding populations of Laticauda in Australian waters, but include the genus on the list of possibly occurring taxa.

Keywords: biodiversity, Australian sea snake species, identification key

Checklist of Sea Snake Species Known to Occur in Australia

Aipysurus apraefrontalis Smith, 1926
Aipysurus duboisii Bavay, 1869
Aipysurus foliosquama Smith, 1926
Aipysurus fuscus (Tschudi, 1837)
Aipysurus laevis Lacépède, 1804
Aipysurus mosaicus Sanders et al. 2012
Aipysurus pooleorum Smith, 1974
Aipysurus tenuis Lønnberg and Anderson, 1913
Emydocephalus annulatus Krefft, 1869
Ephalophis greyae Smith, 1931
Hydrelaps darwiniensis Boulenger, 1896
Hydrophis atriceps Günther, 1864
Hydrophis belcheri (Gray, 1849)
Hydrophis caerulescens (Shaw, 1802)
Hydrophis coggeri (Kharin, 1984a)
Hydrophis curtus (Shaw, 1802)
Hydrophis czeblukovi (Kharin, 1984a)
Hydrophis donaldi Ukuwela, Sanders and Fry 2012
Hydrophis elegans (Gray, 1842)
Hydrophis kingii Boulenger, 1896
Hydrophis macdowelli Kharin, 1983
Hydrophis major (Shaw, 1802)
Hydrophis ocellatus Gray, 1849
Hydrophis pacificus Boulenger, 1896
Hydrophis peronii (Duméril, 1853)
Hydrophis platurus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Hydrophis stokesii (Gray in Stokes, 1846)
Hydrophis zweifeli (Kharin, 1985)
Parahydrophis mertoni (Roux, 1910)

List of Sea Snakes Possibly Occurring in Australia
Hydrophis laboutei Rasmussen and Ineich, 2000
Hydrophis vorisi Kharin, 1984b
Microcephalophis gracilis (Shaw, 1802)
Laticauda sp. Laurenti, 1768

Arne Redsted Rasmussen, Kate Laura Sanders, Michael L. Guinea and Andrew P. Amey. 2014. Sea Snakes in Australian Waters (Serpentes: subfamilies Hydrophiinae and Laticaudinae) — A Review with an Updated Identification Key. Zootaxa. 3869 (4): 351–371 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Carlia wundalthini | Cape Melville Rainbow Skink • A New Skink (Scincidae: Carlia) from the Rainforest Uplands of Cape Melville, north-east Australia

Carlia wundalthini Hoskin, 2014
Cape Melville Rainbow Skink

Carlia skinks are widespread in New Guinea, Wallacea, and northern and eastern Australia. Most Australian species occur in dry woodlands and savannas or marginal rainforest habitats associated with these. There are two rainforest species, parapatrically distributed in coastal mid-eastern Queensland (C. rhomboidalis) and the Wet Tropics of north-eastern Queensland (C. rubrigularis). These two sister species share a diagnostic morphological trait in having the interparietal scale fused to the frontoparietal. Here I describe a third species in this group, Carlia wundalthini sp. nov., from rainforest uplands of the Melville Range, a rainforest isolate 170 km north of the Wet Tropics. This species is diagnosable on male breeding colouration, morphometrics and scalation. The description of C. wundalthini sp. nov. brings the number of vertebrate species known to be endemic to the rainforest and boulder-fields of Cape Melville to seven. Carlia wundalthini sp. nov. is distinct among these endemics in being the only one that does not appear to be directly associated with rock, being found in rainforest leaf-litter.

Keywords: Carlia rubrigularis, Carlia rhomboidalis, Cape York, rainforest, boulder-field, lithorefugia, Queensland

Etymology. Wundalthini was the name of Charlie Monaghan, a Traditional Owner who was born in the Cape Melville area and who passed on much of the knowledge and responsibility for that country to the current generation of its Traditional Owners. The species was named by the bubu gudjin of Cape Melville, the Traditional Owners who have the responsibility to speak for the land where the species lives.

Distribution. Known only from the uplands of the Melville Range, Cape Melville, north-eastern Australia (Fig. 7). Recorded in the vicinity of the type locality (14°16'33" S, 144°29'32" E), at elevations between 450 and 520 m a.s.l., and also in the vicinity of the highest peak (14°16'59" S, 144°29'59" E) at about 600 m a.s.l. Carlia wundalthini sp. nov. was not recorded during surveys of lowland rainforest at the west and south-east of Melville Range.

Habitat and habits. Found in upland rainforest (Fig. 8). Individuals were found during the day active on the surface of leaf-litter or basking in small sun-patches. When disturbed the skinks hid under the leaf-litter or retreated to tangles of fallen branches or rock crevices. Male C. wundalthini sp. nov. were in breeding colour in December but not in March. The other skinks found in micro-sympatry were an undescribed species of Glaphyromorphus (Hoskin & Couper, in press) and a species of Lygisaurus (Hoskin & Hines, under investigation) in the leaf-litter, while Saproscincus saltus Hoskin, 2013 was found on rock surfaces in the same habitat. Carlia longipes (Macleay, 1877), Eulamprus brachysoma (Lönnberg & Andersson, 1915), Cryptoblepharus fuhni Covacevich & Ingram, 1978, Cryptoblepharus virgatus (Garman, 1901) and Bellatorias frerei (Günther, 1897) were found in more open, rockier habitats nearby.

Hoskin, Conrad J. 2014. A New Skink (Scincidae: Carlia) from the Rainforest Uplands of Cape Melville, north-east Australia. Zootaxa. 3869(3): 224–236.

[Invertebrate • 2014] Hausera hauseri • A New Genus and Species for the First Recorded Cave-dwelling Cavernicola (Platyhelminthes) from South America

Hausera hauseri Leal-Zanchet & Souza, sp. n.  photograph of live specimens in dorsal view, with intestine containing food and the pharynx visible


Species diversity of Brazilian cave fauna has been seriously underestimated. A karst area located in Felipe Guerra, northeastern Brazil, which is a hotspot of subterranean diversity in Brazil, has revealed more than 20 troglobitic species, most of them still undescribed. Based on recent samplings in this karst area, we document the occurrence of the suborder Cavernicola (Platyhelminthes) in South American hypogean environments for the first time and describe a new genus and species for this suborder. Hausera Leal-Zanchet & Souza, gen. n. has features concordant with those defined for the family Dimarcusidae. The new genus is characterized by two unique features, viz. an intestine extending dorsally to the brain and ovovitelline ducts located dorsally to the nerve cords, which is complemented by a combination of other characters. The type-specimens of Hausera hauseri Leal-Zanchet & Souza, sp. n. are typical stygobionts, unpigmented and eyeless, and they may constitute an oceanic relict as is the case of other stygobiotic invertebrates found in this karst area in northeastern Brazil.

Type-locality of Hausera hauseri Leal-Zanchet & Souza, sp. n.:
1–2 location in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, showing the range of limestone outcrops from the Apodi Group in detail (black) and the location of the Crotes cave (star) 3

Type-locality of Hausera hauseri Leal-Zanchet & Souza, sp. n.:
the location of the Crotes cave surroundings of the main cave entrance (3) and aerial view of the region (4) indicating the cave contours (red/yellow line), main entrance (white arrow) and secondary gallery (red arrow); 5 perennial stream representing the sampling site.

Systematic account

Order Tricladida Lang, 1884
Suborder Cavernicola Sluys, 1990
Family Dimarcusidae Mitchell & Kawakatsu, 1972

Genus Hausera Leal-Zanchet & Souza, gen. n.

Type-species: Hausera hauseri Leal-Zanchet & Souza, sp. n. Monotypic

Diagnosis: Dimarcusidae without eyes and without a copulatory bursa; female genital duct communicating with the intestine; ovovitelline ducts without caudal dichotomy, uniting to form a common ovovitelline duct; follicular testes; sperm ducts separately penetrating the penis bulb.

Distribution: Felipe Guerra (Crotes cave), Brazil

Etymology: The new genus is dedicated to the late Prof Dr Josef Hauser SJ as acknowledgement of his great enthusiasm for the study of freshwater flatworms. Gender: feminine.

Ana Leal-Zanchet, Stella Souza and Rodrigo Ferreira. 2014. A New Genus and Species for the first recorded Cave-dwelling Cavernicola (Platyhelminthes) from South America. ZooKeys. 442: 1-15 doi:

Brazilian zoologists discovered the first obligate cave- dwelling flatworm in South America

[Herpetology • 2004] Glaphyromorphus clandestinus • A New Species of Glaphyromorphus (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Mt Elliot, north-eastern Queensland, Australia

Glaphyromorphus clandestinus
Hoskin & Couper, 2004

photo: Stephen Zozaya |

Glaphyromorphus clandestinus, sp. nov., is described from granite-slab habitat on Mt Elliot, north-eastern Queensland. This species can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: large size (SVL 72 mm), adpressed limbs of adult separated by noticeably more than the length of the forelimb, 26 mid-body scale rows, and flanks patterned with dark flecks forming a series of longitudinal lines. The distribution, habitat preferences and habits of this species are poorly known. Currently G. clandestinus is known from a single locality where individuals have been found in an exposed area of exfoliating granite, set in a mosaic of rainforest and eucalyptus woodland. The discovery of this species brings to three the number of vertebrate species known to be endemic to Mt Elliot and highlights the evolutionary significance of this southerly outlier to the mountainous rainforest of the Wet Tropics.

Conrad J. Hoskin and Patrick J. Couper. 2004. A New Species of Glaphyromorphus (Reptilia : Scincidae) from Mt Elliot, north-eastern Queensland. Australian Journal of Zoology. 52(2) 183 - 190. doi: 

The Endemic Herpetofauna of Mt Elliot by Stephen Zozaya

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Entomology • 2014] Sirindhornia Pinkaew and Muadsub • A New Enarmoniine Genus (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) from Thailand

FIGURE 1. Head of Sirindhornia spp.
 A–B. S. pulchella, n. sp. (holotype male). C–D. S. chaipattana, n. sp. (holotype male). E–F. S. curvicosta, n. sp. (holotype male). G–H. S. bifida, n. sp. (holotype male). I–J. Sirindhornia sp. (female).


A new enarmoniine genus, Sirindhornia, n. gen., is described based on the type species, Sirindhornia pulchella, n. sp., and three additional new species: Sirindhornia chaipattana, n. sp., Sirindhornia curvicosta, n. sp., and Sirindhornia bifida, n. sp., all from Thailand. A fifth species represented only by a single female is morphologically characterized but not formally described. Sirindhornia is most closely related to Anthozela Meyrick and Irianassa Meyrick but is easily distinguished by unique appendages of the tegumen and a conspicuous henion in the male genitalia.

Keywords: Ang-Ed Community forest, Enarmoniini, Khao Nan National Park, new genus, new species, Olethreutinae, Trat Agroforestry Research and Training Station

Muadsub, Sopita & Nantasak Pinkaew. 2014. Sirindhornia Pinkaew and Muadsub (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), A New Enarmoniine Genus from Thailand. Zootaxa. 3869(1): 53–63.

[Herpetology • 2014] Cyrtodactylus saiyok | ตุ๊กกายไทรโยค | Saiyok Bent-toed Gecko • A New Dry Evergreen Forest-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand

Cyrtodactylus saiyok 
Panitvong, Sumontha, Tunprasert & Pauwels, 2014
DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3869.1.6

We describe Cyrtodactylus saiyok sp. nov. from a dry evergreen forest on a limestone hill in Khao Krajae, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. It is characterized by a maximal known SVL of 61.0 mm; 18–19 longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles; 23 or 24 ventral scale rows between ventrolateral skin folds; a continuous series of enlarged femoro-precloacal scales, including 5 pore-bearing precloacal scales (males); no precloacal groove or depression; transversely enlarged subcaudal scales; a complete black nuchal loop; a W-shaped band above shoulders and 3–5 irregular, medially interrupted or not, black dorsal bands between limb insertions. Cyrtodactylus saiyok sp. nov. is the sixth reptile species that is possibly endemic to Sai Yok District.

Keywords: Cyrtodactylus saiyok sp. nov., new species, taxonomy, limestone

Etymology. The specific epithet saiyok refers to the name of the district in which the type locality is situated. It is a noun in apposition, invariable. We suggest the following common names: Took-kai Sai Yok (Thai), Sai Yok bent-toed gecko (English), Cyrtodactyle de Saï Yok (French), Saiyok Bogenfingergecko (German), Saiyokkromvingergekko (Dutch). The common name Sai Yok Bent-toed Gecko had been proposed by Ellis and Pauwels (2012) for Cyrtodactylus tigroides, for which we here propose the new common name Tiger Bent-toed Gecko.

Panitvong, Nonn, Montri Sumontha, Jitthep Tunprasert & Olivier S. g. Pauwels. 2014. Cyrtodactylus saiyok sp. nov., A New Dry Evergreen Forest-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand.
Zootaxa. 3869(1): 64–74. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3869.1.6

[Herpetology • 2014] Reclassification of Oligodon ningshaanensis Yuan, 1983 (Ophidia: Colubridae) into a New Genus, Stichophanes gen. nov. with Description on Its Malacophagous Behavior

Stichophanes gen. nov. ningshaanensis [syn. Oligodon ningshaanensis]
 An extremely rare colubrid from Hubei Province, China. A single specimen was discovered in 1983 and none have been seen since, until I uncovered approximately 25 specimens in 2006 and 2008 at the site where this individual was photographed. Unlike other members in the genus [Oligodon], this species does not prey on eggs, but preys exclusively on snails and slugs.
 text & photo: K. Messenger [July 2011]


The complete mitochondrial cytb gene and the partial nuclear c-mos gene of Oligodon ningshaanensis Yuan, 1983 were sequenced and used for reconstructing the phylogenetic relationship of this taxon amongst alethinophidian snakes. Its strong affinity to the New World subfamily Dipsadinae and the Old World species Thermophis baileyi was inferred. Hemipenial morphology found by authors conflicts with the original description and its similarity with those of the dipsadid snakes is in accordance with our molecular results. Feeding tests show that O. ningshaanensis is a malacophagous predator, which is another matchless character for this species. This behavior is described and compared with other known slug- and snail-feeding snakes. The discovery of the particular position of our subject indicates that erecting a new genus is necessary accommodate this unique species.

Keywords: Stichophanes gen. nov. ningshaanensis, Dipsadinae, molecular phylogeny, hemipenial morphology, mollusks-predator

Xiaohe WANG, Kevin MESSENGER, Ermi ZHAO and Chaodong ZHU. 2014. Reclassification of Oligodon ningshaanensis Yuan, 1983 (Ophidia: Colubridae) into a New Genus, Stichophanes gen. nov. with Description on Its Malacophagous Behavior. 
Asian Herpetological Research. 
5(3): 137–149. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] New Ooccurrence of Sinovipera sichuanensis in Guizhou, southwestern China

Figure 1: General view of adult male Sinovipera sichuanensis from Jiangkou, Guizhou

 Three Asian green pit vipers were collected in August 2013 during a field trip in Fanjin Mt. National Conservation Area, Guizhou. These specimens were identified as Sinovipera sichuanensis, based on subsequent examination and comparison. This is a new record of the genus Sinovipera and S. sichuanensis in Guizhou, and the first time that male specimens have been 
collected in the field. 

Keywords: Snake; Hemipenis; Distribution; Morphology 

Qin LIU, Guang-Hui ZHONG, Shi-Ze LI, Jing-Cai LÜ and Peng GUO. 2014. New Ooccurrence of Sinovipera sichuanensis in Guizhou. Zoological Research. 35 (4): 350−352 

[Ichthyology • 2014] Schistura megalodon • A New River Loach (Cypriniformes: Nem­a­c­heilidae) from the Irrawaddy basin in Dehong, Yunnan, China

 A new species of river loach, Schistura megalodon sp. nov., is described from the Irrawaddy basin in Yingjiang County, Dehong Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. The following combination of diagnostic characters serve to distinguish it from all other congeners in the given zoogeographical region: a large processus dentiformes in the upper jaw, a short pre-anus length of 65.4%-66.3% of SL, long paired fins (pectoral: 20.8%-24.2% of SL; pelvic: 17.9%-20.6% of SL), a wide body of 9.7%-11.3% of SL at anal fin origin, an incomplete lateral line, the absence of an orbital lobe, and a broad and distinct basicaudal bar with forward extensions. 

Keywords: Schistura megalodon; Irrawaddy; Dehong; Yunnan

Marco Endruweit. 2014. Schistura megalodon species nova, A New River Loach from the Irrawaddy basin in Dehong, Yunnan, China (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Nem­a­c­heilidae). [J]. ZOOLOGICAL RESEARCH. 35(5)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes), with the Description of New Genera

TABLE 2. Homalopsid species are grouped based on morphological and molecular work.
 The Fangless Indonesian Group was recently recognized and placed within the Homalopsidae by Murphy et al. (2011). (Photo A Brachyorrhos raffrayi by J.C.M.) Alfaro et al. (2008) recognized four clades. Their clade A corresponds with our Plumbea Group, containing a highly aquatic undescribed species from Lake Towuti, Sulawesi. (Photo B Hypsiscopus plumbea by Daryl R. Karns.) The South China Group is linked by similar morphology, and was long considered to be part of Enhydris. Kumar et al. (2012) found Myrrophis chinensis to be the sister to the southwest Indian Dieurostus dussumierii (also previously considered part of Enhydris). (Photo C Myrrophis chinensis by Steve Mackessy.) The two species in the Fossorial-Aquatic Group share similar morphology and geography but remain unconfirmed by molecular studies. (Image D Miralia alternans from Jan & Sordelli, 1860–1881.) Similarly, most members of the South Asian Group have not been included in molecular studies. The group shares some morphology and geography. (Photo E Dieurostus dussumierii by Biju Kumar.) The Pahang Mud Snake, Kualatahan pahangensis, is of uncertain relationship. It may be allied with the South Asian Group or the Enhydris Group. The Enhydris Group is centered in Indochina, they use freshwater habitats, and group membership of all but Enhydris chanardi has been supported with molecular and morphological data (Alfaro et al., 2008; Karns et al., 2010a). (Photo F Enhydris enhydris by J.C.M.) The Punctata Group is centered on the Sunda Shelf and shares similar morphology. Only Phytolopsis punctata has been included in molecular studies. (Photo G Homalophis doriae by Daryl R. Karns.) The Saltwater Group has been well documented with molecular data (Alfaro et al., 2008). (Photo H Cantoria violacea by J.C.M.) The Australasian Group is well supported by a close genetic relationship between Pseudoferania and Myron (Alfaro et al., 2008; Kumar et al., 2012; Pyron et al., 2013) and shared morphology and geography with the other members of the group. (Photo I Pseudoferania polylepis by J.C.M.) The Sunda Group is at best tentative, Alfaro et al. (2008) found a sister relationship between Erpeton and Subsessor bocourti, while Murphy et al. (2011) found Erpeton to be the sister to Bitia, and Subsessor to be the sister to the Homalopsis and Cerberus groups; and Kumar et al. recovered Subsessor as the sister to Homalopsis. (Photo J Subsessor bocourti by J.C.M.) The Homalopsis Group is linked by similar morphology. (Photo K Homalopsis mereljcoxi by J.C.M.) The Cerberus Group has three of the five species linked with molecular data (Alfaro et al., 2004) and is strongly supported by Alfaro et al. (2008). (Photo L Cerberus dunsoni by J.C.M.)

The colubroid snake family Homalopsidae contained 10 genera and 34 species of rear-fanged semi-aquatic and aquatic snakes in 1970 with the publication of Gyi's monograph. In 2007 Murphy had updated Gyi's work and the family held the same 10 genera with 37 species plus two genera with uncertain status (Anoplohydrus, Brachyorrhos). Molecular studies published in the first decade of the 21st century demonstrated that while the Homalopsidae is monophyletic, the species-rich genus Enhydris is polyphyletic. Molecular analysis also found Brachyorrhos to be the most basal member of the clade, confirming an earlier hypothesis that it was a fangless homalopsid. Subsequently, two other fangless genera of homalopsids were discovered. We revalidate the genera: Homalophis Peters, Hypsiscopus Fitzinger, Miralia Reuss, Phytolopsis Gray, and Raclitia Gray. Also, we describe five new genera for species lacking available names: Gyiophis, Kualatahan, Mintonophis, Sumatranus, and Subsessor. The new arrangement for homalopsid names resolves the problem of the formerly polyphyletic genus Enhydris. For all species, we provide a synonymy, information on types and type localities, a diagnosis, as well as remarks on taxonomic and nomenclatural problems and a dichotomous key. Recent evidence suggests homalopsids show high levels of endemism and cryptic speciation.

Keywords: aquatic snakes, mud snakes, Homalopsidae, terrestrial–aquatic transition, geographic distribution, taxonomy

CoverEnhydris jagorii Peters from the Bung Ka Lo wetland in Thailand’s Central Plain. This is the only confirmed extant population of this snake. Enhydris jagorii inhabits a marshy wetland with a shallow central lake bordered by rice paddy.
Photo by J.C.M.

John C. Murphy and Harold K. Voris. 2014. A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes), with the Description of New Genera. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences. 8 :1-43. doi:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

[Paleontology • 2014] Ziapelta sanjuanensis • A New Ankylosaurid Dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Kirtlandian) of New Mexico with Implications for Ankylosaurid Diversity in the Upper Cretaceous of Western North America

Ziapelta sanjuanensis
Arbour,  Burns, Sullivan, Lucas, Cantrell, Fry & Suazo, 2014

A new ankylosaurid (Ankylosauria: Dinosauria), Ziapelta sanjuanensis, gen. et sp. nov., is based on a complete skull, an incomplete first cervical half ring, a possible fragment of the second cervical half ring, and additional fragmentary osteoderms. The holotype specimen is from the Upper Cretaceous (Upper Campanian, Kirtlandian Land-Vertebrate Age) Kirtland Formation (De-na-zin Member) at Hunter Wash, San Juan Basin, in northwestern New Mexico, USA. Diagnostic characters of Ziapelta include: a large, prominent triangular median nasal caputegulum; a mixture of flat and bulbous frontonasal caputegulae; ventrolaterally oriented squamosal horns with a sharp, prominent dorsal keel; and the ventral surface of basicranium with three prominent anteroposteriorly oriented fossae. A phylogenetic analysis suggests that Ziapelta is not closely related to the other ankylosaurid from the De-na-zin Member, Nodocephalosaurus, but allies it to the northern North American ankylosaurids Ankylosaurus, Anodontosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Dyoplosaurus, and Scolosaurus.

Figure 2. Ziapelta sanjuanensis, gen. et sp. nov., (holotype NMMNH P-64484), complete skull.
A, dorsal view; B, ventral view; C, anterior view; D, occipital view; and E, left lateral view.
Abbreviations: asca, anterior supraorbital caputegulum; bas, basioccipital; ch, choana; fm, foramen magnum; j, jugal; laca, lacrimal caputegulum; loca, loreal caputegulum; ltf, laterotemporal fenestra; mnca, median nasal caputegulum; nar, external naris; oc, occipital condyle; orb, orbit; pal, palatine; par, parietal; parocc, paroccipital process; pmx, premaxilla; psca, posterior supraorbital caputegulum; pt, pterygoid; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal; qjh, quadratojugal horn; snca, supranarial caputegulum; socc, supraoccipital; sqh, squamosal horn; tr, tooth row; v, vomer. doi:

Speculative life restoration of Ziapelta sanjuanensis
Illustration: Sydney Mohr

Systematic Paleontology

Dinosauria Owen, 1842 
Ornithischia Seeley, 1888  

Thyreophora Nopcsa, 1915  

Ankylosauria Osborn, 1923 
Ankylosauridae Brown, 1908 

Ziapelta gen. nov. 

Type and only known species. Ziapelta sanjuanensis sp. nov. 

Etymology. Zia, after the Zia sun symbol, a stylized sun with four groups of rays, having religious significance to the Zia people of New Mexico, and the iconic symbol on the state flag of New Mexico; pelta (Latin), a small shield, in reference to the osteoderms found on all ankylosaurids; sanjuanensis, In reference to San Juan County and the structural basin from which the specimen was derived.

Figure 4. Cervical half rings of Ziapelta sanjuanensis.
A) Incomplete first and second cervical half rings of NMMNH P-64484 (holotype), with isolated post-cervical osteoderm, as preserved in situ. First cervical half ring is in posterior view. B) Dorsal view of left medial osteoderm showing smaller interstitial osteoderms, anterior is up. C) Isolated first cervical half ring NMMNH P-66930 (referred specimen) in anterior view.
Abbreviations: b, band; g, groove; i, interstitial osteoderm; ld, left distal osteoderm; ll, left lateral osteoderm; lm, left medial osteoderm; mid, midline of the cervical half ring; os, osteoderm; pc os, post-cervical osteoderm; rl, right lateral osteoderm; rm, right medial osteoderm. doi:

Victoria M. Arbour,  Michael E. Burns, Robert M. Sullivan, Spencer G. Lucas, Amanda K. Cantrell, Joshua Fry and Thomas L. Suazo. 2014. A New Ankylosaurid Dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Kirtlandian) of New Mexico with Implications for Ankylosaurid Diversity in the Upper Cretaceous of Western North America. PLoS ONE. 9, 9: e108804. doi:

[Paleontology • 2014] Eousdryosarus nanohallucis • A New dryosaurid Ornithopod (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal

Eousdryosarus nanohallucis
Escaso, Ortega, Dantas, Malafaia, Silva, Gasulla, Mocho, Narváez & Sanz, 2014 
Reconstruction: Raúl Martin

A new dryosaurid ornithopod, Eousdryosaurus nanohallucis, gen. et sp. nov., is described here based on a single specimen from the Late Jurassic Alcobaça Formation of Portugal. Eousdryosaurus nanohallucis is distinguished from all other dryosaurids by eight autapomorphic features and an unique combination of characters, some of which are also shared by other dryosaurids. Eousdryosaurus is linked with Dryosauridae, because the fourth trochanter is proximally placed and widely separated from the scar for the insertion of the M. caudifemoralis longus, which is restricted to the medial surface of the femoral shaft. Phylogenetic analysis nests Eousdryosaurus in an unresolved polytomy at the base of Dryosauridae together with CallovosaurusDryosaurus, and Kangnasaurus. The complete pes of Eousdryosaurus, which has a phalangeal formula of 1-3-4-5-0, supports the putative autapomorphic reduction of the dryosaurid pes that also occurs in parallel in more derived ornithopods.

Fernando Escaso, Francisco Ortega, Pedro Dantas, Elisabete Malafaia, Bruno Silva, José M. Gasulla, Pedro Mocho, Iván Narváez & José L. Sanz. 2014. A New dryosaurid Ornithopod (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(5): 1102 - 1112. doi: